Feb 17, 2008 12:17pm
1970 - Shadow and Light
1970, WHAT A YEAR -- The Dead's two most popular albums were released this year, Workingman's and American Beauty, establishing the group's identity as being deeply embedded in American roots music. The big jams took a back seat. At many shows, acoustic sets were performed -- what happened to the loud psychedelic rock band? fear not children.... it's all part of a story. There was A LOT going on for the group this year.... and in their own unique way, the dead sort of made room for everyone and everything. And like the dichotomies present in the music, there is the tale of the tape: considering the amount of music played this year, quality recordings seem few and far between, as the band emerges from shadow only now and then, largely shrouded this year in bad AUDs and performances of unknown content.
1970 -- the Dead played 149 shows that year. not to mention jerry and phil's ongoing collaborations with David Crosby, Graham Nash, Jorma and Jack and every one else hanging around Wally Heider's San Francisco studios. however you cut it, they played a lot this year, with Jerry in particular playing a concert almost every other day. GOOD WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT, i guess....
most of the shows at the Fillmore East and West are well documented as are the three runs at the Capitol Theatre -- well known and loved. come spring the dead embarked on the historical run of college shows, the gigs at HARPUR COLLEGE and M.I.T.
deservedly regarded as important shows.
on 5/24 they do a killer one-off gig in ENGLAND, Newcastle-Under-Lyme
in june they return to the Fillmore West for a well-recorded run, four hot shows in a row, with just monster sets played every night -- long and varied shows. check this rare [...] New Orleans from 6/6.
from this point they head back to HAWAII for 3 gigs, all undocumented and unknown. WHERE OH WHERE is the show from Diamond Head Crater, June 10, 1970?
and then after a day off, two shows at The Red Vest, with only a barely audible snippet in existence. back in Berkeley for a seemingly decent show, only evidenced in a very poor AUD.
they shine brightly during a one-off back at the Capitol Theatre, June 24, 1970. presumably this was a stop-gap gig before they embarked with The Band and others on the NOTORIOUS FESTIVAL EXPRESS
tour of Canada. this tour is largely undocumented, even the enticing sounding MISSISSIPPI RIVER FESTIVAL, Edwardsville IL, back on U.S. soil.... of course we do have this: July 3, 1970, McMahon Stadium, Calgary CANADA.
illicit sounding Audience Recordings circulate of the middle nights of the July Fillmore East run, too bad -- they sound positively ferocious at times here, listen to BOBBY, as he absolutely LETS IT ALL HANG OUT on this raging [...] MINGELWOOD, July 10....
back to recharge the batteries at home, Janis Joplin takes the ride up to the Euphoria Ballroom, San Rafael CA to jam on [...] LOVELIGHT 7/16/70 only a partial recording exists of this laid-back WEST COAST gig . keeping a low profile, a gig of dubious origin is attributed to 7/30 at the Matrix,
a short acoustic set circulates with the first TO LAY ME DOWN. a quick sojourn down to San Diego occurs on AUGUST 5, 1970.... one of the dead's best regarded early acoustic shows takes place: GOLDEN HALL COMMUNITY CONCOURSE.... check out the sweet first ever [...] Rosa Lee Mcfall.
back for a run at the Fillmore West, AUGUST 17 goes undocumented, leading us to the next night, with FIRST EVERS: Truckin, Operator and Brokedown. a monumental show really, but alas only a very so-so aud is available. ditto the next night, a very long acoustic set lingers in AUD ONLY PURGATORY.
back down south they went next for two shows of unknown content, performed at something called The Club in LA. ON AUGUST THRITY, the group recorded a PBS special for KQED in SF, priceless, early Dead Footage Indeed
the group would spend the rest of the year mostly on the east coast. the fall got off to a great start with the widely regarded Fillmore East run of 9/17 - 9/20, acoustic sets were played each night. the amazing jam on the 19th kicked off with a 25 minute Dark Star, landed on St Stephen, snaked through Not Fade and a China Cat tease, before winding up with a 20 minute Lovelight meltdown. WOW! Jerry offers up a sweet [...] ACOUSTIC BIG RR BLUES on the 20th... the over the top CAUTION at the end of the 2nd set must have brought the crowd to their knees. (sadly, recordings of this epic jam are warbly and distorted sounding....)
back for a quick hit out west, the gigs from 9/25 in pasadena with the promising dark star>cosmic charlie>alligator>lovelight>morning dew sequence and the show from Salt Lake Cirty UT the next night unavailable. two shows at the winterland next, 10/4-5, the first available but presumable incomplete, lacking any big jam. the second night, essentially unknown.
OCTOBER essentially falls off the table, stops in queens NY, wayne NJ, philly, and minneapolis are unknown or survive only in very, very poor AUDs. the band reappears somewhat in a decent recording from October 23, at Georgetown.... a very sweet [...]GDTRFB is played for THE THIRD TIME EVER. an OK SBD exists of the next night's "OK" show at the Kiel Opera House, MO. but as we find during the next well-documented run at STONY BROOK, the long jams seem to have gone into hiding -- there are few highlights during this run, with only Good Lovin, Dancin, and Lovelight stretching out much at all.
things pick up again for the November Capitol Theatre run, with two Dark Stars played on 11/6 and 11/8, the last of the year, until February 18, 1971. BUT THE REAL HEAT, comes during the jam that comes out of ALLIGATOR on the 6th, the SECOND TO LAST ever played, the Alligator crawling up out of the swamp for the last time on April 29, 1971. This hot version gives way to a quick NFA>GDTRFB (w/ mountain jam tease)>CAUTION before finally settling back in for a rockin' Lovelight to end the night.
the boys were still not done on the east coast, but the engagements at Action House in Island Park, and the 46th Street Rock Palace in BROOKLYN, are largely undocumented and unknown. back in more familiar surroundings on November 16, THE DEAD LIGHT UP THE FILLMORE EAST for a rare one-night stand. a fine sounding recording exists. no big jams are played, but the boys are spot on and the recording is Diamond Quality, compared to what we have heard from much of this year. super tight versions of many tunes are offered up, such as [...] this stretched out NFA, with some decent pigpen noodlings! -- very audible in the generous mix.... oh and who is that on the VOX????
(**oh right, this is the steve winwood show, and those are his noodlings on NFA, and singing the first verse....... it really comes off well, the big name guest is never a guarantee of good music, but this is hot stuff indeed )
the recording from 11/20 with the big blowout jam with Jorma at the end is well known and of historical value, but i find the recording really harsh and to trebly to listen to. as for the jam at the end, these kind of things are "in the moment" performances and are rarely cohesive or pleasurable to listen to after the fact (but that is a matter of taste i suppose...) this show was at the U of Rochester and marked a mini college run with shows at Boston University and Middlesex Community College to follow, both largely undocumented. the rest of this long east coast sojourn would follow suit, with the remaining shows in NY, Illinois and Ohio going unknown or poorly recorded.
at last, the boys finally made it back out to California for a gig at The Santa Rosa Fairgrounds, 12/12/70. not an outstanding show, but the recording is decent quality... next up three unknown, undocumented shows at THE MATRIX 12/15-17, something called "PEPPERLAND" in San Rafael on 12/21, and carrying on IN THE DARK with an unknown show in Sacramento, 12/22. a partial nice sounding SDB exists of the WINTERLAND show from December 23, including a Super-duper [...]COLD RAIN AND SNOW....
AFTER SO MANY MONTHS careening between the dark and light, seemingly always on the road.... so much of the music played throughout the fall remaining in obscurity, vanished in the air.... the boys check in one last time for the year with a killer run at LEGION STADIUM, in El Monte California, just east of Los Angeles. they would not unleash any big jams at these shows, well of course Good Lovin' gets out to 24 minutes on the 28th, but spot-on exciting versions of many tunes were played, like a nice [...] OTHER ONE?.... "Till the Morning Comes" played for the last time ever on 12/26 .... perhaps a little pooped from a very long year, the boys wrap it up with a bit of a plain jane new year's show
oh well, they would come back and do the new year justice with the BLOWOUT show of 12/31/71.... but that's another matter
This post was modified by He Live's on 2008-02-18 00:10:47
not trying to boot this up, just realized the full story of the 11/16/70 gig
This post was modified by He Live's on 2008-02-18 02:58:00
This post was modified by Diana Hamilton on 2008-02-17 20:17:51